John Skipper, ESPN President and Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks has stepped down. Skipper cited substance addiction issues behind the reason of his decision in the following statement sent out to employees yesterday:
“I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem. … I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down.”
Skipper originally joined ESPN in 1997 as senior vice president and general manager of ESPN The Magazine prior to stints at Rolling Stone and US. Skipper was tapped as ESPN President and Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks in 2012.
While a search is on to fill Skipper’s role, George Bodenheimer will serve as acting chairman. Bodenheimer previously carried the title of ESPN president from 1998 to 2011. In addition, he was also executive chairman util 2014. Bodenheimer will assist Bob Iger in finding a long-term replacement for Skipper.
Online reports indicate that ESPN might be looking internally for candidates to fill Skipper’s position. Along with Bodenheimer, potential candidates are Connor Shell and Justin Connolly. Shell currently oversees programming at ESPN and has headed up ESPN’s film division. Connolly is the company’s distribution chief.
Disney CEO, Bob Iger, released the following statement:
“I join John Skipper’s many friends and colleagues across the company in wishing him well during this challenging time. I respect his candor and support his decision to focus on his health and his family.”
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